Charles de Melun, intrigues and treachery in the 15th century

Charles de Melun, aka Charles I. († 22. August 1468 in Le Petit-Andely, today Les Andelys) was Seigneur of Normanville and Lumigny, baron of Landes, counsellor and chamberlain of the king of France.


The house of Melun is a very old french noble family. The first Melun whose existence is supported by documents was viscount Salon de Melun in 991.

Charles de Melun was the firstborn son of Philippe de Melun († 1471) and Jeanne de Nantouillet. He had one brother, Louis de Melun, who was bishop of Meaux and two half brothers, Jean de Melun, seigneur of Lezay und Antoine de Melun, seigneur of la Motte-Saint-Florentin.

He was married twice. His first wife was Anne-Philippe de la Rochefoucauld († around 1465). He married her on January the 21st in 1453. His second wife was Philippe de Montmorency († 20 November 1516). He married her on March the 23rd in 1465.

Charles de Melun had one son (Louis) and four daughters (Arethuse, Prégente, Ambroise, Marie und Louise) of his first marriage.

Wappen von Charles de Melun, selbst mit Inkscape gemalt, Public Domain

coat of arms of Charles de Melun, own work, Public Domain


Antoine de Chabannes (1408-1488) was Meluns superior. Louis XI. had not forgotten that Antoine de Chabannes helped to reveal the Praguerie, a conspiracy by Louis XI and some French nobles against Charles VII, the father of Louis XI. Thus Chabanne fell in disgrace 1463. Chabanne was indicted and Louis XI told Charles de Melun, that Chabanne’s properties would be given to Melun in case of Chabanne’s conviction. Thus Chabanne was convicted, his properties confiscated and given to Melun.

Melun became governor of Paris and the Île-de-France in 1463 and Grand maître de France in 1465. He was commander-in-chief of the Bastille and of the whole French army but without the title Constable of France.

Charles de Melun and Jean de La Balue (1421-1491) knew each others since 1462. They had been good friends until 1465. Then their friendship turned into hatred and Balue, accused Melun of having cospired with the “enemies of the government”. Chabanne was rehabilitated in the treaty of Conflans and he supported Balue, because he wanted to get his properties back.

Louis de XI., rechts sein Bruder Charles und Antoine de Chabannes mit dem Stab des Grand maître, von Jean Fouquet, Public Domain

Louis XI, his brother Charles and Antoine de Chabannes on his right side, by Jean Fouquet, Public Domain

the lawsuit

Melun wurde indicted for sabotage of the battle of Monthléry. They accused him of not having sent marshal Rouault with 200 lancers to attack the army of the enemies from behind. He was also accused of having opened the gate at the Bastille while the Ligue du Bien public besieged Paris. Because of the open gate, the citizens and the bishop of Paris were able to bargain with the Ligue. he was also accused of having traded with the Ligue.

Melun was tortured and admitted that he gave a horse to Franz II. and a mule to Charles the Bold.

He denied to have bargained with Charles de Valois without the knowledge of Louis XI and said Louis XI gave him the orders. Louis XI denied to have given orders like that.

Hearing this, the judge sent a priest to Melun and Melun was imprisoned in Château-Gaillard near petit Andely (Les Andelys). Melun was decapitated on Tuesday the 22nd August 1468 between 8 and 9 in the morning and most of his properties were confiscated.

Château-Gaillard, von Wikimedia Commons user:Tango7174, Lizenz Gnu freie Dokumentation

Château-Gaillard, by Wikimedia Commons user:Tango7174, licence: Gnu free documentation

after his death

Two of the confiscated fiefdoms were given to Antoine de Chabannes, who became the new Grand maître de France. After Chabannes’ death Melun was rehabilitated by Charles VIII. The two fiefdoms were given back to Melun’s succession. Melun’s son Louis, became baron of Landes.

Melun’s second wife Philippe married the baron Guillaume Gouffier de Maulévrier († 1495) in 1472.

Jean de la Balue fell in disgrace later and was imprisoned by Louis XI for 11 years.


Franck Beaumont, Philippe Seydoux: Gentilhommières des pays de l’Eure erschienen bei Editions de la Morande in Paris 1999, page 24f, ISBN:978-2902091317 (french)

Nicolas Viton de Saint-Allais: Nobiliaire universel de France, ou Recueil général des généalogies historiques des maisons nobles de ce royaume. Band 1, publisher: Bachelin-Deflorenne in Paris 1872-1878, page 263+268f (french)

Etienne Pattou famille de Melun page 13f, 2004, pdf (french)

Simon Hirsch Cuttler: The Law of Treason and Treason Trials in Later Medieval France, publisher: Cambridge University Press in Cambridge, 2003, page 36,128,137-139, ISBN:9780521526432

Johann Samuel Ersch: Allgemeine Encyclopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste in alphabetischer Folge von genannten Schrifts bearbeitet und herausgegeben von J. S. Ersch und J. G. Gruber, publisher: J. f. Gleditsch 1842, page 19f (german)

Henri Forgeot: Jean Balue, cardinal d’Angers, 1421 ?-1491, publisher: E. Bouillon in Paris 1895, page 46f (french)

Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde Sismondi:Histoire des Français, publisher: bei Dumont 1837, page 5 (french)

Philippe de Commynes, Nicolas Lenglet Dufresnoy, Denis Godefroy: Memoires de Messire Philippe de Comines, seigneur d’Argenton, où l’on trouve l’histoire des rois de France Louis XI. & Charles VIII, publisher: Chez Rollin, fils 1747, page 14-17 (french)

Peter Rolfe Monks, Bibliothèque royale Albert Ier, Keith Val Sinclair, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique: The Brussels Horloge de Sapience: iconography and text of Brussels, Bibliothèque royale, MS. IV 111, publisher: BRILL 1990, page 11, ISBN:9789004090880

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Charles de Melun, intrigues and treachery in the 15th century by stanze (Stanzilla, stanzebla) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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